Fashion Retailers Unequipped to Capitalize on E-Commerce

Fashion Retailers Unequipped to Capitalize on E-Commerce
The Manufacturer June 2021
By Lois Mackenzie

A new study has revealed that over half of fashion retailers are not agile enough to be able to capitalise on the eCommerce boom that has started during COVID-19.

The study conducted by Hitachi Solutions and K3 technologies has shown that 57% of retailers did not feel confident enough to capitalise on this eCommerce boom. This was noted as due to lack of technology in place to support a strong eCommerce presence. A further 45% of fashion retailers claimed they are behind in their digital ERP journey.

However, retailers that made early investments in digital Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) did not share the same lack of confidence and had much fewer issues around agility. This led to a much quicker deployment of efficient digital sales strategies with the help of data insights generated through ERP.

The study revealed that ultimately, early adopters of digital ERP where a third more likely to capitalise on the shift to online shopping brought on by COVID-19. This success highlights the need for fashion retailers to build up their digital strategies from the ground up.

Lack of visibility
The study has shown that the number one cause of internal bottlenecks is a lack of visibility. This can be a result of outdated systems in the supply chain, out of stock items and a lack of cross channel returns.

Tony Bryant, Director Global Business Development and K3 Technologies said: “2020 provided a reset moment for retail and fashion, with many brands completely pivoting to meet customers through digital channels.

“But customers’ demands are becoming more complex, and the fashion brand landscape is in adapt or die mode. For many fashion retailers, a lack of visibility into operations and inventory has been a spanner in the works for meeting customer demands.

“This is why laying the foundations for a single source of real-time data through ERP is critical. It delivers competitive advantage for fashion brands in a world that increasingly values convenience, personalisation, and flexibility. Fashion brands need to meet customers where they are, and a strong digital foundation plays a critical role here.”